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The Agile & Lean UX News #131

Welcome to issue #131 of the Agile and Lean UX News. Curated by Quietstars and delivered to your inbox. Occasionally.

Adrian’s has slots on his calendar for free 30 mins chat. If you would like to talk over any work problems, or just fancy having a virtual coffee break with him, feel free to book a slot.

He’s been thinking about how engineers hire their first UX person on the team. We’d be interested in what you think.

Articles of Note


Doing Discovery Well: How to Measure and Guide Your Team

by Teresa Torres (@ttorres)

“To get value out of discovery activities, teams need to adopt the right mindsets. We need to trust the experimental data. We need to be prepared to be wrong. We need to have intellectual honesty about what we are learning. And we need to be able to connect the dots between what we are learning and the product decisions that we need to make. The best leading indicator for measuring the effectiveness of discovery activities is to track how often a solution is thrown out.”

Celebrating When a System Breaks

by Roy Opata Olende (@RoyOlende)

“This week, the system broke … and I couldn’t be happier. Twice in two days, we had multiple research sessions booked at the same time … on the same calendar. In one of those calls, a researcher was momentarily bumped out of his session. In the other, we had to scramble to reset participant invites and video conference links … This all makes me happy because the source of the problem is having lots more people involved in research.”

Journey Mapping for Remote Teams: A Digital Template

by Sarah Gibbons (@segibb)

“Don’t forget, collaborate with others. The process used to build the map is just as important as the map itself. Successful journey maps are not just about the resulting artifact and should be more treated as more than a checklist of the “right” elements. They should be informed by well-defined goals, and built from research.”

Why We Need to Rethink Product Management in an Agile Practice

by Anthony Marter (@antzzzm)

“If the engineering team is not motivated and can’t reliably deliver outcomes that make a difference to the customer, then the product, and therefore the organisation isn’t going to be successful. Therefore the product management function needs to take on a leadership role in the way their organisation implements Agile — if the scope is only within delivery and the function just contributes as a product owner here and there then we’re going to be in for a bad experience.”

Meaningful Transformation

by Marty Cagan (@cagan)

“What does it really mean to transform to empowered product teams? The prerequisite for this transformation is getting your senior leaders — normally starting with the CEO – to understand the necessary role of technology as the key enabler of the business, and not just a necessary cost of doing business. Without this understanding, your chances of success are low. But assuming your senior leadership understands how essential this is, and is willing to back their words up with action (granted, that’s a big assumption), then we can get to work.”

Worth Another Read


Story Mapping for UX Practitioners: Tying Agile and UX Together

by Jeff Patton (@jeffpatton)

“If you’re a user experience person, build one of these maps on the wall, physically in your area, and if you’ve got someone to collaborate, lead them over to it and say, “This is what I’m seeing happen. The person using our product is doing this, this, and this. And here’s where the real pains are.” … I really watch closely for their body language. I watch for people to start to point and start to use words like “here” and “there” and “down here” and start to engage with it. I’ve found that these things end up selling themselves.”

Something for You To Watch


How to Transform Your Organization Into an Innovation Engine

(Tendayi Viki, 49 mins)

“Is your organization able to innovate and create new growth in a repeatable way? Do your innovators have to hide and protect their ideas in case they are killed by the corporate machine? Where are you right now on the journey to transform your innovation culture? Which pieces of the puzzle are still missing? [This is ] a webinar about how leaders can drive the transformation to turn their companies into innovation engines.”

How to Write OKRs That Don’t Suck

(Adrian Howard, 25 mins)

“You should regularly retrospect on your OKRs, and attempt to understand how they have helped or hindered teams. Were they at the right level of granularity? Did they help steer teams to make impactful decisions? Did they reflect outcomes that benefited customers? … Find ways to bring the OKRs into your work on a regular basis. Talk about them. Put them on the wall. Use them for planning and retros. If they’re not helping in those scenarios, then that’s useful insight for the next retro.”

A Team Is Not a Bonsai Tree

(Salma Alam-Naylor, 14 mins)

“A team is made up of people – living, changing, flawed organisms. We are imperfect, unique, and wonderful and by extension, so are the teams we are part of. In the same way that we care for our gardens by creating optimum environments for self-directed growth and flourishing, we should accept that teams, if given a clear purpose, the resources they need, and occasional monitoring and care, will flourish in ways that we may not expect, but will solve the problems we need them to.”

Lean Agile Scotland 2019 Redux

There were some wonderful sessions at Lean Agile Scotland last year. We think you will find these talks of especial interest:

The rest of the sessions are well worth a look too.

Upcoming Events

Building Product Strategy, 30 June, Online

Testing Business Ideas, Remotely, 30 June, Online

Mind The Product London, 1-2 October, London

UX Camp Brighton, 10 October, Brighton

Quietstars help teams improve with tactical workshops, team coaching and personal coaching. Think we can help your product development teams? Have a question? Not sure where to begin? Visit to find out.

Have something that you think should be in this newsletter? Want to tell us what sucked or rocked about this issue? Drop us a line at

Until next time. Be excellent to each other.

Kathryn (too busy for twitter) & Adrian (@adrianh)

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